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Health and Wellness

NC State Staff Take Advantage of Intramural Sports Offerings

A soccer team made up of NC State staff members.
Several NC State staff members gather for an intramural sports soccer team pictured.

On a typical day when he heads to the office, Darren White, the digital communications manager for NC State’s Graduate School, has simple objectives: promote the school’s goals, mission and opportunities for students. 

On other days, however, White has other missions: have some fun getting active, score a goal or make a basket, and, above all, avoid injury. 

White has taken advantage of Wellness and Recreation’s cost-effective gym memberships for faculty and staff, often taking fitness classes during his lunch hour. Over the past year, however, White has joined a growing group of NC State staff members participating in Wellness and Recreation’s intramural (IM) sports program. 

“I’m having tons of fun this season, and I plan on continuing,” White said. “I have one daughter in college and one daughter who recently graduated from college, so I love to use my free time to do this. I’d say at 52 years of age, when I do anything, whether I’m playing pick-up basketball or IM soccer, my No. 1 goal is not to get injured. My wife reminds me of that every day that I walk out the door and go to a game.”

I’m having tons of fun this season, and I plan on continuing.

White’s foray into IM sports started with weekly pick-up basketball games before joining an intramural soccer team made up of NC State staff members from across campus. A former high school soccer player, White coached his daughters’ soccer teams when they were young, but said his last time playing organized soccer before this year was during his college years in Frostburg State’s intramural program. 

Quintin Terry, Wellness and Recreation’s sports programs coordinator, explained that the low-cost membership rate for faculty and staff, as well as the timing of IM sporting events at the end of the work day, have made it a popular option.

“Whenever we are able to reach faculty and staff, it’s great to see them be able to come together, build a community and connect with students,” Terry said. “Being able to offer sports like basketball at 5:30 right after they get off work allows them to still have free time to stay active and connect with the Wolfpack community.” 

White has been involved with several wellness initiatives on campus over the past few years, including the Programs and Services, and Communication and Collaboration working groups under the University Wellness Advisory Committee. 

Despite the receding hairline, when I’m out on Miller Field, I feel young.

He’s also participated in mental health first-aid training certification, and understands the manifold benefits of staying active. For White, who has always disliked solo workouts, that means getting moving with a group, or, in this case, team. 

“Despite the receding hairline, when I’m out on Miller Field, I feel young,” he quipped. 

White’s team finished the season 3-2 and tops in its division, a Cinderella result the former NC State basketball statistician likened to the Wolfpack’s Final Four run last month. 

Terry explained that the IM sports leagues are open to players of all experience levels in the various sports, and that, in addition to the ability to get exercise, there’s a social benefit to playing a team sport as well. 

White concurred with that sentiment, discussing the networking he’s had the chance to do with both staff and students on the pitch this season. A majority of Whites’ teammates are staff members at the NC State Libraries. 

“I’ve gotten to meet people at the Libraries that I didn’t know before,” White said. “I’ve learned more about Makerspace, the Digital Media Lab,  and the Alt-Textbook program through those employees. It’s also interacting with students since it’s primarily undergrads that we’re playing in our division. But before, during, and after the game at some points, it’s just about getting to meet new folks on campus, whether they’re faculty, staff or students.”

Darren White (right) and his daughter, Gracie.

This season even turned into a family affair for White. In the final game in April, his team ended up playing against his youngest daughter, Gracie’s business fraternity team. 

“Being on the field with my daughter easily made it the best game of the season,” he said.

White is looking forward to many more seasons to come, as he and other NC State staff members across campus continue to take advantage of Wellness and Recreation’s IM Sports offerings as a way to get exercise, build community and, above all, have some fun. 

To learn more about intramural sports at NC State, visit the Wellness and Recreation website.